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Hawkwind Atomhenge 76  album cover
2.79 | 29 ratings | 6 reviews | 3% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1: 36:44
1. Intro (1:18)
2. Reefer Madness (6:05)
3. Paradox (4:23)
4. Chronoglide Skyway (5:56)
5. Hassan I Sahba (5:56)
6. Brainstorm (8:53)
7. Wind of Change (4:09)

Disc 2: 48:05
1. Instrumental (1:15)
2. Steppenwolf (11:14)
3. Uncle Sam's on Mars (7:36)
4. Time for Sale (10:38)
5. Back on the Streets (5:16)
6. Sonic Attack (6:27)
7. Kerb Crawler (5:34)

Total Time: 84:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Calvert / vocal
- Dave Brock / guitars, vocal
- Nik Turner / sax, vocal
- Paul Rudolph / bass
- Simon House / keyboards, violin
- Alan Powell / drums
- Simon King / drums

Releases information

Voiceprint Records (HAWKVP5CD)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to frenchie for the last updates
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HAWKWIND Atomhenge 76 ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (28%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

HAWKWIND Atomhenge 76 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1976, a year of transition, was not a good time for the relationships in Hawkwind as they struggled to move on from their classic free-form space-rock era. Already gone were such legends as Stacia, Lemmy, Dik-Mik and Del Dettmar and in had come a "funkier" direction. An extravagent audio-visual tour of the UK - called Atomhenge as the stage-set was based on Stonehenge - was undertaken during the autumn to support the new album Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music. The album under review was recorded in Bristol during September.

As with most retrospective releases of archived live material the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. In this case though, most of the problems are related to the mix. This has clearly been sourced directly from a 2-track tape recorded directly from the sound-desk, so we are in the hands of the live engineer. It is at best variable: the keyboards/sax/violin are nearly always too quiet and Calvert's vocals are too loud, creating an unbalanced feel leaning more towards heavy metal than space rock. Added to that, the engineer clearly misses many cues to adjust his faders, poor Nik Turner suffering the most.

The recorded quality is actually quite good. Though restricted in upper frequencies, the bass is strong and meaty giving the new material a power lacking on the original studio renditions. Clarity is also excellent despite the usual leakage through open mics and poor/non-existent stereo image. Noise is well-controlled with very little hiss but there are one or two insignificant little pockets of distortion or interference - nothing to worry about until the final track Kerb Crawler which has increasing problems and cuts off abruptly at the end.

The band are on good form. Brock may have been having a crisis of confidence at this time but his playing is assured. His guitar is well to the fore, as is Rudolph's bass which thunders and glides to good effect, appropriately backed by twin drummers. The bass drums really do pack a punch! Generally, the new material sounds quite different from the detailed light and airy originals, being rougher and beefier but at the same time a little more leaden.

There are highs and lows. Reefer Madness has some excellent guitar riffing and a pumping one-note bass, but is not as lively as the studio version. Paradox (an older track) is much heavier than its studio counterpart with a lolloping riff and Prog-like chord progression. It features Turner's flute on an extended coda before the rhythm breaks down to an ambient end. Chronoglide Skyway is essentially a slow and dreamy rhythm backing some noodling and a searing guitar solo by Rudolph. Hassan I Sahba is the earliest recorded version of this song and it shows as it is very rough around the edges. Calvert gets his vocal wrong and it ends with pointless noodling, but Brock's guitar is gorgeous. Brainstorm is a high energy version of the old Space Ritual classic, one of the better renditions despite Turner's vocal being swamped. Brock's Wind Of Change (another Mountain Grill track) is transformed into a rock instrumental, beginning with some ambient keyboards, then a slow riff with spacey guitar before developing into a full-blown heavy riff.

CD2 begins with Steppenwolf. In its studio form it was a Prog epic, but here it becomes a long meandering hard-rock piece which outstays its welcome. Uncle Sam's On Mars would later appear in 1979 on the studio album PXR5. This is its earliest form and it is a right cracker, with a pulsating metronomic 2/4 beat, and repetitive 'octave-notes' from Rudolph's bass, the band combining to build towards a genuine climax. It has one of the few moments of Space Ritual era guitar atmospherics from Brock. With a better mix this would have been as good as anything they have ever done! Time For Sale was never recorded for a studio album and you can see why! Despite a good driving one-note bass rhythm, it lacks ideas and is several minutes too long. Back On The Streets is a Status Quo soundalike 12-bar complete with heavy guitar riff and an engaging fluffed start. House's violin solo is half missed by the tardy engineering. Sonic Attack is uninspired while Kerb Crawler ends the album with another heavy rock riff but is dominated by a worsening sound quality.

As always there are pros and cons, but the main issue is whether the listener can live with the rockier, heavy metal material and the obvious deficiencies of the sound. I like it a lot and I believe others will too.

Note: there are at least two other versions of this concert - 'Thrilling Hawkwind Adventures' (just 7 tracks) and the box-set 'Welcome To The Future' (which has 12 tracks amongst other things), but this is the only one with the complete show.

Review by kev rowland
2 stars There are many Hawkwind records coming out now, but there appears to be some problem with quality control. 'Atomhenge' is a case in point. This is a double CD, with lots of great photos in the booklet, but the sound quality is not all that it should be. During "Brainstorm" the lead vocals are overpowered by the backing, and the sound levels drop and rise alarmingly. It is hard to imagine that this is a classic song, by one of the best concert acts around. Not that the problems arise here alone, it is the same throughout which is a shame as the casual fan would like this, but as it stands it is for die-hards only.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

Review by Warthur
4 stars A full live set from the Atomhenge tour, supporting the Astonishing Sounds, Amazing Music album but also previewing some cuts which would later surface on PXR 5 or Quark, Strangeness and Charm. The Calvert-led, Charisma-based incarnation of Hawkwind tended to be a little more genteel than their preceding or subsequent versions on the studio albums - especially on Astonishing Sounds and Quark, Strangeness etc. - but this release is reassuringly heavy, to the point where those who miss the Lemmy years may find it an easier introduction to the band's Charisma period than the studio releases from the time.

That said, the sound mix, whilst well above bootleg standard, is not quite on the level of, say, the Live '78 recording of the Hawklords tour; in particular, Nik Turner's sax and Simon House's violin can get a little lost in the mix, which is a particular shame. And on the closing number, Kerb Crawler, the sound quality takes a sudden dive. What would have been a 5-star live release is dragged down to four stars by these shortcomings.

Latest members reviews

2 stars As a lover of the 'Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music' album this really ought to be a piece of magic. I was not a gig goer at the time that ASAM was released so the chance to hear the band at that time should be priceless. However, while there are some good things about this release there is also ... (read more)

Report this review (#1838865) | Posted by ProgRobUK | Monday, December 4, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars BEWARE! Whether it's Hawkwind doing it to themselves ? or unsprupulous others ?I really don't know. What I do know is that there is a huge pile of Hawkind DVD's and CD's of trully appalling quality ? I couldn't telly you what the performances are like if I wanted too. They might br great ? We'll ... (read more)

Report this review (#758701) | Posted by Matt-T | Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars To Me this is a five star album, but then anything hawkwind do to me is five stars they are just head and shoulders above every other band and despite what people think they are prepared to take bold and adventurous steps with their music. Atomhenge is a live recrding of one such bold step. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#85939) | Posted by Chriz | Sunday, August 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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